To Shin Do has inspired me and changed me. I have trained with and under ranked instructors that are far above my masters and it has shown me that there is a much greater world out there in terms of martial arts than I had been exposed to in Tae Kwon Do. I saw that there were secrets and powers that defied scientific study but were readily available for me to use if only I could open my eyes and see them. To Shin Do cultivates the mental and spiritual side of martial arts instead of purely physical. This, in my experience is what separates To Shin Do from any other arts I have studied. Tae Kwon Do taught that if you hit a board and it breaks, you are strong. Aikido told me that if I can throw someone across the room and roll away, I was strong. While strength and technique are important and relevant, they are just facets of the truth presented by To Shin Do: if I believe in myself and in what I am doing, I am strong. This belief in the art and myself is what sustains me through my training, and hiatus for school. These people that I see are the ones who show me that this is a worthy pursuit and because of them, I not only come back to train time and time again but get excited for it, and suffer withdrawal from it when I am away.
Revisit the blog tomorrow for the next part of Jeff's essay.
To see Jeff earn his To-Shin Do shodan Black Belt, come to Winter Warrior 2013.